The Web of Empire: English Cosmopolitans in an Age of Expansion, 1560-1660

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How did England go from a position of inferiority to the powerful Spanish empire to achieve global pre-eminence? In this important second book, Alison Games, a colonial American historian, explores the period from 1560 to 1660, when England challenged dominion over the American continents, established new long-distance trade routes in the eastern Mediterranean and the East Indies, and emerged in the 17th century as an empire to reckon with. Games discusses such topics as the men and women who built the colonial enterprise, the political and fiscal factors that made such growth possible, and domestic politics that fueled commercial expansion. Her cast of characters includes soldiers and diplomats, merchants and mariners, ministers and colonists, governors and tourists, revealing the surprising breath of foreign experiences ordinary English people had in this period. This book is also unusual in stretching outside Europe to include Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. A comparative imperial study and expansive world history, this book makes a lasting argument about the formative years of the English empire.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Alison Games's newest book is a work of great range and depth that draws on a considerable breadth and variety of sources.... This comprehensive study is meticulously researched and points to a new direction for considering English global activities in this era as well as for understanding the eventual development and growth of the British Empire."—Journal of British Studies

"The Web of Empire: English Cosmopolitanism in an Age of Expansion offers a rather benign view of how global empire was built, with a dazzling array of explorers, travellers, merchants, clerics and even soldiers often more concerned to learn from exotic peoples than to impose on them."—The Independent

"Like Games's earlier effort, The Web of Empire conveys the result of prodigious research; anyone who has attempted archival research of English activity in far-flung locations in this early period will be impressed by Games's energy and tenacity."—New England Quarterly

"An admirable book. It casts light in places where shadows lurked; thereby it brightens a reader's view of the beginnings of the English empire. It proceeds from its author's diligent scouring of sources, her eye for apt detail, her gifts of style, and her careful posing of argument, all of which render this book well worth an investment of one's time."—Warren M. Billings, Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

"This is early, all encompassing, and wide-ranging British imperial history at its finest."—R.D. Long, CHOICE

"This thought-provoking book will doubtless stimulate further studies of the role of cosmopolitan accommodation in European imperial expansion." —Renaissance Quarterly

"Beautifully written, deeply researched, extraordinarily wide-ranging, and pathbreaking book...Indispensible for understanding how the British Empire began and for understanding how its origins shaped its subsequent history" —Journal of Modern History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199733385
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 10/21/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 356,960
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Alison Games is Dorothy M. Brown Distinguished Professor of History, Georgetown University. She is the author of Migration and the Origins of the English Atlantic World and co-author of The Atlantic World: A History, 1400-1888.

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Table of Contents

1. Before the Grand Tour: The Domestication of Travel
2. The Mediterranean Origins of the British Empire
3. English Overseas Merchants in an Expanding World of Trade, 1590-1650
4. Virginia, 1607-1622
5. All the King's Men: Governors, Consuls, and Ambassadors, 1590-1650
6. Madagascar, 1635-1650
7. The Cosmopolitan Clergy, 1620-1660
8. Ireland, 1649-1660

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  • Posted January 16, 2010

    How Merchants Changed the World

    Alison Games did an excillent job of researching her feild and all related topics when writting her book, The Web of Empire. In this book Games clearly shows how the actions of merchants and the diplomatic decisions made at their request changed England's relationship with the world and set the stage for Empire. Games draws from many different sources to bring her thesis to fruition, covering England's trade relations around the world, and expertly ties these sources together to prove her point. This is an academic work and could prove boring to the reader not interested in British Imperial history, however, to any lover of history this will prove to be both inlightening and stiulating. This is an excillent source for any who are interested in research during the time of Britain's rise to imperial power, or who are facinated by the small details that shape history.

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